Earlier this year I was invited to fly on Norwegian Air to experience fly internationally on a “low-cost” carrier. While I’ve flown Southwest plenty of times around the US, I’ve actually never flown overseas not on a traditional carrier. A lot of my friends have raved about their experiences with Norwegian Air, and while sure they might be cheap, from what I’ve heard they deliver a friendly and reliable product. They are after all, the winner of multiple Freddie Awards as well as SkyTrax’s Best Low-Cost Long Haul Airline.
I flew from New York City (JFK) to Belgrade, Serbia via Oslo, Norway to attend the Southeast Europe Coworking Coliving Conference. This is a review of the first leg, flying on a Boeing 787 in Economy, on a “Flex” ticket.
Comparing Norwegian Air Fares
If you are strictly booking based on budget, you’ll more than likely opt for their “Low Fare” ticket. This basically covers your seat and one piece of hand luggage (carry on) no more than 10kg. Should you want to pick a seat, have a meal or make changes, there will be additional fees. This fare is also not refundable. There are two other price points, aside from the Premium cabin. These come with tiered benefits such as access for Fast Track through security, meals and checked luggage.
Norwegian Air check-in counters are located on the far left side of JFK’s Terminal 1. Checking into my flight was very easy. While there were a lot of people in line, it really moved fast. Almost every window was staffed and there were plenty of additional employees there to help walk customers through using the kiosks and bag drop lanes.
If you know what you’re doing and understand the ticket you’ve purchased, then this process is quite simple. That said, never underestimate the human potential for confusion and ignorance. I witnessed more than a few passengers that seemed shocked, if not offended that they were either over the weight limit or not permitted a checked back without paying for it.
This is strictly on the passengers, as I’ve walked through the booking process and Norwegian has done a great job communicating this to customers. Signage at the airport was also very clear.
On Board – Seating
First and foremost, the fact that you’re on a Boeing 787 is a game changer, compared to older wide body planes. There are a variety of benefits, but thanks to better pressure and humidity, passengers experience less fatigue, dry eyes and headaches.
In Economy, seating layout is 3-3-3. Each seat has some amount of recline and seat back entertainment. As far as leg room goes, even at 6’1″ I was fairly comfortable. Luckily, no one was seated in front of me. If there had been a passenger who felt like reclining, it would have been a little tight.
That said the pitch is 31″, just one inch less than a standard economy seat on United’s 787 and the same as many other carriers. A gentleman to my left who looked to be about 6 inches than me seemed to be a tad cramped.
Norwegian features a well designed in-flight entertainment (IFE) system that not only had a great mix of classic movies but also new releases and family friendly options. There are some games available as well. It’s also how you order food, should you want something to eat or drink.
If your ticket does come with a meal, it will be brought to you shortly after the first round of beverage service. Yet, not as quickly should you decide to pass on the included meal and purchase a snack from the seat back monitor. One of the nice features included being able to open a tab, so that you don’t have to swipe a card every time you order.
The meal that was included in the Economy ticket was as good as any I’ve had in long haul economy. While the portion might be a bit smaller, it was plenty fine. We had a choice of a meat or vegetarian option. I chose the thai style beef with rice, which came with a salad and a piece of chocolate. I received one glass of wine with my meal and purchased an additional mini bottle. The meal was served in a cute container that reflects the carrier’s quirky charm.
You might read people complaining online about Norwegian Air, but that’s not really any different than any other airline these days. More often than not, it’s on the passenger, rather than the airline. Sure, Norwegian has had some challenges with swapping out equipment, but hard to blame them for wanting to keep you safe. Especially since faulty engines on the 787 were Rolls Royce’s problem and the grounding of the 737 MAX is Boeing’s doing.
Now that I’ve flown their Economy and Premium product, I feel that it’s exactly what a low cost carrier should be. You get what you (want to) pay for – plain and simple.
The service is friendly with a smile, but not over the top. Their fleet is all relatively new. If you don’t need anything more than a seat then this is a great option for those on a budget. Bring your own headphones. Pack a blanket or a travel pillow. You’ll rest at ease knowing the money you’re saving will be put towards more fun on your trip.
The post Flight Review: Norwegian Air 7002 Economy – New York (JFK) to Oslo was first published on Coworkaholic.